San Antonio Votes to Regulate Rental Services Like Airbnb for the First Time

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Under rules that city council approved Thursday for Airbnbs and other short-term rentals, City Hall probably could not house overnight visitors. - SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
  • Under rules that city council approved Thursday for Airbnbs and other short-term rentals, City Hall probably could not house overnight visitors.

San Antonio will for the first time regulate the short-term rental of homes through services like Airbnb, requiring owners to pay taxes and limiting how many properties used strictly for rental can operate in neighborhoods.

On Thursday, city council voted 8-2 to approve the new rules, which would require owners of properties listed on Airbnb, HomeAway and other online sites to register with the city and face penalties for rules violations.

With the advent of the online "sharing economy," travelers have used such rental properties — from guest rooms to entire houses — as a way to avoid pricey hotel stays and experience cities at a neighborhood level.

But some homeowners want to put brakes on the practice, pointing to traffic and safety issues. Others are worried about maintaining the character of their neighborhoods, especially as investors snatch up multiple rental properties.



San Antonio's new rules are largely regarded as a compromise between concerned neighbors and rental services like Airbnb and HomeAway, both of which backed the final vote.

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